We all post stuff that, on rare occasions, either has to be edited after first publication, or on even rarer occasions, has to be pulled completely. But mass-market newspapers, with their resources - writers, subs, editors, management and lawyers - should never, but never, make those kinds of mistakes. Not so the Murdoch Sun, which appears to have rehashed a far-right conspiracy theory as if it were fact.
Wake up Tom - you've been had
The story, apparently with non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn’s name on the by-line, told readers “Ex-Spooks say Corbyn is at the centre of a hard-left extremist network … Jeremy Corbyn is at the centre of an extraordinary network of hard-left extremists pieced together by former British intelligence officers”. Yeah, right.
Sadly, such is the confidence that the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have in the information they have put out there that the whole article, and the Sun Politics Tweet advertising it, have now been pulled. But I am reliably informed that it uses a graphic called “The Traitors [sic] Chart”, one look at which should have sounded alarm bells in the heads of whichever Murdoch minions were doing the looking.
Let’s take this nice and slowly: if you’re looking for subversion and treachery, whether it be left-wing, right-wing or whatever, you’re not going to find it at the Guardian, Stand Up To Racism, the NEC, the BBC, or the People’s Assembly. One perusal should have been enough to have the story spiked. But perhaps someone wanted to believe it was true.
Peter Geoghegan of Open Democracy called bullshit on Newton Dunn and the Sun. “I've never complained to IPSO before. But I'm very tempted to now. Unless Tom Newton Dunn and the Sun retract this cheap smear immediately. Myself and my colleagues have been nominated for 'investigation of year' at 2019 British press awards + much more. This is pitiful shite”. OD’s sin? Funding from George Soros. Er, hello Murdoch goons?
And speaking personally, while I’m flattered to have been included in this great conspiracy map, I have to tell Newton Dunn that this is total crap. The chart links me to the Guardian. Full disclosure: the paper once ran a feature on me and Zelo Street. That is all. I have never written as much as a single syllable for the Guardian.There is no link.
So I have no issue with Andrew Bartlett concluding “Tom Newton Dunn sharing fascist conspiracy theories should be the end of his career. But it won't be. So feel free to laugh in the face of any journo moralising about fake news or extremism when that beetle is still invited on Newsnight and so on”. He gets invited on The Andy Marr Show™ - whose host is one of those names on the chart. Way to go explaining that one at NBH.
And James Doleman reminded us “[Tom Newton Dunn] said on national TV I was not a ‘bone fide journalist.’ Must be true, as I've never had to pull an article within 12 hours of publication”. On a Marr Show paper review, no less. Doleman was right. And he is. Note that the redirect URL contains “Legal Removal”. Maybe the lawyers had it pulled.
Publishing drivel like this in a mainstream newspaper is going to get someone hurt or even killed. Newton Dunn should have been sacked for going anywhere near it.
But as it’s the Murdoch press, he’ll probably get a promotion instead. Same old, same old.Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at